‘It makes us bigger’

Pro golfer starts ‘give back’ campaign with hush-hush visit to Chinle

Submitted |
Navajo golfer Rickie Fowler (center in black) visits with some of the Chinle High School boys’ basketball during a visit last week. Fowler has partnered with The Workshop, a multimedia production company, to film a docuseries about rezball.


Many people have walked through the door of Josiah Tsosie’s home – but never a professional athlete.

Last Tuesday, knocking at the door of his family’s doublewide mobile home near Chinle was Navajo professional golfer Rickie Fowler.

“That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, to have a professional athlete come to my house,” the 18-year-old Chinle High School senior said. “I was shocked when they said he wanted to meet me and come to my house. I was very surprised. It was an honor to have Rickie at my house.”

Fowler, accompanied by Navajo/Pueblo golfer Notah Begay III and Fowler’s girlfriend, track and field athlete and fitness model Allison Stokke, visited Chinle last Tuesday to film part of his new docuseries on rez ball and to visit the stars of the series: the Chinle High boys’ basketball team.

Fowler, who started his own media company, Main Event Productions, partnered with The Workshop out of Pennsylvania to showcase the basketball team and social issues on the reservation.

In an exclusive interview with the Navajo Times, Fowler, who is currently ranked No. 7 in the world, said he’s waited a long time to share one of the many stories of his Navajo people.

“Sharing the story of how the kids are raised and where they live and go to school, and what basketball has kind of done for them,” Fowler said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to be a part of, having the Navajo tie-in somehow, where we were able to visit the reservation, and right before regionals, it was perfect.”

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Categories: Golf

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.